Okay, following on from the last two posts, we had the tennis championship finals on Saturday. My main physical preparation was a medium 350 calories treadmill run on Friday followed by some sit ups. Oh, and plenty of deep heat for my poor tennis elbow before the match!
So the finals match took place in good conditions for tennis - cloudy, no wind and around 15C. My opponent at 6'2" was 4 inches taller, as well as younger, thinner and faster. He likes to sneak into the net and use his long arms to play volleys or hit overhead smashes. Not a massive hitter in terms of power and a very average server. So my plan was to put him under pressure right from the serve with power shots. As we got going my plan was working like a dream. I got to 3-0 and then he got better but I still managed to get to 5-3 up. I was rifling shots past him as he came to the net - which was part of my plan. However he eventually read this situation well and started to stay back at the baseline much more. I found it increasingly harder to put him under enough pressure and I even started to make more unforced errors. He played a bit better himself and pulled off the first set 7-5.
This was rather frustrating having been ahead by so much. It had been a long one hour first set. My tennis elbow was getter sore, my muscles were tiring. But I just gritted it out and again went off into a 3-0 lead and then continued to a 5-2 lead. After this he creeped back into the match. I can't fully put my finger on it, I think it was a combination of him slightly improving, me slowing slightly and either not hitting hard enough or making too many unforced errors. Either way we ended up at a tiebreak at 6-6. I went ahead in the tiebreak as well but I got a bit sloppy in my shots and ended up losing the set and the match. So he won the finals 7-5; 7-6. It was over two hours long and we were told it was a great match for the spectators. I guess I should be happy that I gave this talented guy a great fight and in truth I certainly had all the chances to have won it. But c'est la vie!
Well it was fun and we had a great spirited party afterwards in the clubhouse. As my youngest daughter wisely said to me later...there are always people better than you in sport...all you can do is keep improving your personal best. It's certainly nice to feel an ability to be competitive in sport when older. Fun and fitness can't be a bad combination!